Category Archives: The Front Office

Game 149. Yanks’ offense disappoints again in 1-0 loss.

This has been the story of the Yankees’ season in 2014—a good pitching performance sabotaged by an underperforming, often non-existent offense. The OPS+ is 94, the ERA + 104. That more or less tells you a lot. (100 is average, the higher the better).

Tampa Bay scored with two out in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Yanks 1-0 Monday night.

Last time out, Chris Capuano only got one out. This time, he pitched six shutout, two-hit innings in lowering his overall ERA to 4.55. 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 walks and 4 K.

Adam Warren pitched two scoreless innings, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K, 3.21.

Shawn Kelley (L, 3-6, 4.20) took the loss. 2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 walk and 1 K.

The Yanks got just six hits in the game. Derek Jeter, 0 for his last 24, was given the day off.

With the loss, and Baltimore’s win, the inevitable finally happened, the Yanks were eliminated from winning the division. As far as that final playoff spot goes, they are now six back with 13 to go and must jump over four teams to do so.  Although not mathematically eliminated yet, you can stick a fork in them. Just being realistic, here.

At 76-73, it is looking more and more likely that the Yanks won’t match last year’s record of 85-77, and will wind up with their worst season since 1992, which was their last season under .500. They have to win six of the remaining 13 games to finish above .500.

If they can get hot, they could pass Toronto (and yes, the Yanks do have games left against the Blue Jays) for second place in the division. Small consolation, since the second place won’t come with a wild card berth.

In related news, Mark Newman is stepping down as Farm Director, and Masahiro Tanaka threw five innings in instructional league. Tanaka may be back this weekend.

Game 148. Robertson can’t hold lead, Yanks lose 3-2.

David Robertson threw 35 pitches on Friday in one of the doubleheader games. He threw 11 Saturday in saving that game. He was brought in yesterday to save a 2-1 Yankees lead in the 9th.

You just knew what was going to happen. Robertson had nothing, gave up two runs and the Yanks lost 3-2.

On the ESPN telecast, the announcers basically said that to them, it appeared that the Yanks were basically saying “you are a free agent, we aren’t going to re-sign you, so we’ll just run you into the ground.”

Seriously, there was no one else Girardi could have brought in to get three outs? Robertson for a third straight day?

Martin Prado homered in the second, his 12th overall HR of the year, to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. Baltimore tied it in the sixth.

Brian McCann put the Yanks up 2-1 in the top of the 9th with his 20th HR of the year.

But then Robertson gave up doubles to Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce to tie it (and see my recent post “You were saying” about Pearce, a one-time Yankee), and after a fly out, a double to Kelly Johnson (remember him? Yup, that Kelly Johnson from the Yanks earlier this year) to win it.

Kuroda went 7, 1 R, 6 H, 0 walks and 5 K. 3.81. Too bad the Yanks, like usual for this year, didn’t give any run support to a starter who pitched well.

Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 1.35. His 2 K tied Mariano Rivera’s record of 130 K in a season by a Yankees’ reliever. It looks more and more like he will be the closer next year and the Yanks will let Robertson leave via free agency and take the money saved to shore up other needs. This year’s first-round draft pick, Jacob Lindgren, may wind up being the set-up man. We’ll see what happens this winter.

Robertson 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 walks and 0 k. He falls to 2-5, 2.93.

The Yanks fall to 76-72. They remain in third place, 12 1/2 behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East with 14 to go. They are one game behind second-place Toronto. The Orioles’ magic # for eliminating the Yanks from the division title is down to two. As far as that final playoff spot is concerned, the Yanks are five out with 14 to go and would have to jump over four teams to get there.

The Yanks finished 85-77 last year. They would need to go 9-5 in their last 14 games just to meet that mark this year. That’s what has been disappointing. They had a lot of injuries last year (Jeter and Teix both missed most of the year), and with the free agent signings of Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury and Tanaka, you thought the record would be better, or at least the same—not worse. Yes, there have been injuries this year, but still, it’s been disappointing.

Derek Jeter went 0 for 4. He is now 0 for his last 24 and down to .250 (actually, .249534, which is rounded up to .250). He did hit a couple of balls well last night, but no luck. His OPS+ is down to 70 and he’s hitting .172 since August 2nd. It makes you wish the season, and his career, were over already.

It’s not like you want Jeter’s career to be over, and yes, you’d like for a miracle to happen and for the Yanks to make the playoffs (isn’t happening) but you just don’t want Jeter to go on to the end like this. Another point fell off the lifetime batting average. He started this year at .312, and it’s down to .309.

There are 14 games to go, and how many Jeter plays in we don’t know. You’d hate to see him below .250 or even .240. You’d hate to see another point drop off that lifetime batting average.

You hope he has one or two multi-hit games left in him.

But does he?

Game 138. Yanks blast Boston in 9th, comeback to win 5-4.

Down 4-3 entering the bottom of the 9th, the Yanks got a game-tying HR from Mark Teixeira and one out later, a game-winning HR from Chase Headley to defeat Boston 5-4 Thursday night.

The win keeps the Yanks in 2nd place in the AL East, 9 1/2 back of Baltimore. More importantly, it keeps the 72-66 Yankees four back of the second wild-card slot with 24 games to go.

Chris Capuano started for the Yanks and gave up a solo HR to David Ortiz in the first and a 2-run to him in the third, putting the Yanks in a 3-0 hole.

Derek Jeter got a 2-run double (career hit #3448) in the third to cut the gap to 3-2, and Jeter scored on a single by Carlos Beltran to tie the game.

Capuano gave up a HR to Brock Holt in the fifth to put Boston up 4-3.

Capuano went 4 1/3, 4 R, 6 H, 1 walk and 2 K. Overall ERA 4.46.

Rich Hill 1 /3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K. Overall ERA 2.70.

Esmiel Rogers 1 2/3, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K. Overall ERA 4.89.

Josh Outman 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. Overall ERA 3.24.

Shawn Kelley 1 1/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 4.37.

Adam Warren (W, 3-5, 3.24) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

As you can see, the Yanks’ bullpen, with many members not with the team at the beginning of the year, did the job. After Capuano left, they went 4 2/3, 0 R, and just one hit.

They set the stage for the heroics by Teixeira (HR #21, career HR #362, passing Joe DiMaggio on the all-time HR list) and Headley (his 11th overall HR [SD/NYY] ) in the bottom of the ninth.

Word is that the Yanks will be offering GM Brian Cashman an extension at the end of the season. Cashman’s contract expires after this season.

Game 119. Yanks lose 4th straight, 5-3.

This was a killer. The Yanks’ offense didn’t do much, but they still had a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the 8th down in Baltimore. Dellin Betances was on the mound, and he’s been great all year.

But it was Betances’ third inning of work, a move that may have deeper complications, such as lost confidence in Warren or Whitley, both of whom have been struggling mightily lately, overwork of some members of the bullpen (especially because, with the lack of offense, there have been so many close games) or desperation.

Betances gave up a game-tying HR, then Shawn Kelley blew the game by giving up a 3-run HR in the same inning as the Yanks lost 5-3.

Forget the division. The loss puts the Yanks 8 behind Baltimore with 43 games to go. Only a drastic change and torrid hot streak by the Yanks and collapse by Baltimore will enable the Yanks to catch the Orioles. It looks like Baltimore will be the AL East champs. Getting tougher for the Yankees is trying to gain that second wild-card spot. At 61-58, the Yanks are 3 1/2 behind co-leaders Detroit and Seattle for that final playoff spot. Toronto is just ahead of the Yanks, 3 back. So the Yanks need to get hot and do some leap-frogging.

Francisco Cervelli gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead with his 2nd HR of the season in the third inning.

Michael Pineda, making his first appearance in almost four months after the pine-tar incident and injury, pitched very well, giving up just one run in the fifth inning. 5 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 4 K. In his five starts this year, his ERA is 1.82, but his record remains at 2-2, a sign of the Yanks’ lack of support. It also shows Pineda’s talent if he is ever healthy and his head is screwed on straight (no pine-tar stupidity).L

In the bottom of the 8th, Jonathan Schoop proved to be a Yankee-killer again. His 11th HR of the season tied the game. It’s his 4th against the Yankees this year, one against Betances, and two against Tanaka. Go figure.

The Yanks got a run in the top of the 9th on an RBI groundout and got the tying run to the plate, but to no avail.

Betances 2 1/3, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 4 K. 1.52.

Later in that same inning Shawn Kelley gave up a three-run HR to Adam Jones. That was the game.

Kelley (L, 2-4, 4.74) 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 0 K.

To make room for Pineda, the Yanks let Chris LeRoux go. You could see that coming when LeRoux was brought up a couple of days ago and Bryan Mitchell was sent down.

Brian McCann should be back on Saturday. Hiroki Kuroda will pitch Sunday.

The Yanks are off today (Thursday).

Earlier in the day, Hal Steinbrenner commented on the disappointing offense (after all, he shelled out big bucks to bring in Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran) and refused to comment on GM Brian Cashman, who is a free agent after the season. Personally, I don’t blame Cashman. He brought in players with track records. Although Ellsbury has done OK (and truthfully, he shouldn’t be batting third, but…) McCann and Beltran have been disappointing and others who are gone didn’t play to former potential (Soriano, Roberts). Hal also said he expects A-Rod to rejoin the Yanks in 2015. That is something I’m not looking forward to. Alex’ talents have gone down in the last few years, he will be 40 in July 2015 and after a year off, who knows what he’ll have left. Not to mention the circus and baggage there will be…

Game 112. Yanks edged in 12, 4-3.

For the 16th game in a row, the margin of victory in a Yankees’ game was only one or two runs.

The Yanks lost to Detroit, 4-3, in 12 innings.

Today the Yanks face their third CYA winner in a row when they face Justin Verlander. Fox Sports states on Twitter that the Yanks did the same thing in June of 2001 when the Braves came to the Stadium and tossed Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux at the Yanks.

The Yanks got off to a 3-1 lead in this one, but couldn’t hold it. They couldn’t score after the fifth.

Detroit got a run in the first off Hiroki Kuroda but the Yanks tied it in the second on a Brian McCann HR (12) off of David Price.

The Yanks got a run in the third on doubles by Ryan and Ellsbury, and another in the fifth on a HR by Martin Prado, his first as a Yankee and seventh overall.

Kuroda gave up a HR in the sixth to make it 3-2, then a trio of Tiger singles in the seventh tied the game.

Kuroda 7 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 0 walks and 5 K. 3.97.
Betances 1 1/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 1.46. One HBP of Torii Hunter took Hunter out of the game.
Betances now has 100 K in 67 2/3.

Kelley 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K. 3.22
Huff 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K. Overall ERA 3.89.
Rogers 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 2 K. Overall ERA 5.84.
Hill 1 batter, HBP. 0 IP, 0 R, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 K. First MLB batter this year. ERA infinity.

Matt Daley (0-1, 5.02) 1 1/3, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 1 K. 5.02. He gave up a HR to Alex Avila in the top of the 12th that won the game for the Tigers.

Derek Jeter got one hit to put him at 3428, two behind Honus Wagner for sixth all-time.

Just wondering…. in the bottom of the 9th, Carlos Beltran led the inning off with a single. McCann came up. The shift was on. A bunt down the third base line was an easy hit. McCann McCan’t bunt. Didn’t try to. He did try to go the other way and flied to left. Two strikeouts followed. I’m just wondering if Cervelli should have gone up there at that time (after all, Price was still pitching, a lefty) and if Cervelli should have tried the bunt to move Beltran over. In the end, it didn’t matter because the next two hitters struck out anyway.

Did you see the beard on Joba now that he is a Tiger? Looks more like a lions’ mane.

Tanaka threw again yesterday. More pitches from flat ground. 50 at 60 feet. Said he felt fine. Hopefully the rehab continues to go well.

Earlier in the day, the Nationals claimed Matt Thornton off waivers from the Yanks. The Yanks called up Rich Hill. Daley was the callup when Phelps was DL’d for 15 days with elbow inflammation. The guys to really watch are Tyler Webb, who was just promoted recently to AAA and Jacob Lindgren, who was just promoted to AA.

Webb, 24, is 1-6, 3.45 in three levels (A+, AA and AAA) and who has 11 saves and 81 K in 57 1/3 IP.

Lindgren, 21, was the Yanks’ first pick (2nd round) in this year’s draft. He’s pitched in just 13 1/3 minor league innings since then but has already been fast-tracked to AA. Of his 40 outs, 30 are by strikeout. He’s given up 2 runs, just one earned, for an ERA of 0.68.

The loss puts the Yanks at 58-54, six behind Baltimore in the AL East. 3rd place. They remain one behind Toronto for the final wild card spot. Toronto has the final wild card spot, KC is 1/2 game back, the Yanks and Seattle each one back.

The minors.

I was underwhelmed and not thrilled with the Yanks’ moves at the trade deadline yesterday. You can read my previous post for my opinion(s).

One thing I didn’t mention in that post is that there is a 27-year-old Cuban defector, Rusneys Castillo, who each team is looking at. The speedy OF is a righty-hitter who has good opposite-field power. The Yanks sent four scouts to look at him and many other teams are after him too. Estimates say it’ll take $30-$45 million to sign him. Jay-Z is his agent, which may or may not be a good thing (think Cano). So we’ll see if the Yanks are in play for him. Despite the Prado acquisition, getting someone in their prime like Castillo would be a plus.

AAA: Scott Sizemore was released. SWB won 8-4. Bruce Billings 1 R in 6 IP. Pirela and Refsnyder at it again (I wanted both called up. Instead the Yanks went out and got Drew and Prado). LF Pirela (.313) 3 hits, single, double, triple. Refsnyder, who now will concentrate solely on 2B, 2 hits, 2 RBI (.301 at AAA after .342 at AA). 2 hits, solo HR for C John Ryan Murphy.

AA: 2-1 win for Trenton. 6 2/3 shutout innings, with 8 K for hitting coach Kevin Long’s son Jaron (4-0, 2.73 at AA). RF Jake Cave 2 hits, 2B Casey Stevenson 2 h, rbi.

High A: 3B Eric Jagiello 2 h, rbi as Tampa lost 7-3.

Low A: Charleston lost 1-0, getting (and giving up) just three hits. DH Tyler Wade 2 hits. Chaz Hebert the tough-luck loser, 7 IP, 1 R (unearned), 2 H.

Trade deadline. Yanks get Drew, Prado.

The trade deadline has come and gone and some blockbusters were made.

As far as the Yanks are concerned, I am underwhelmed.

Let’s go one step at a time.

The Yanks DFA’d Brian Roberts. They traded Kelly Johnson to Boston for Stephen Drew. While I advocated dumping Roberts and Johnson, I wanted to stay in house and promote youngsters Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder from AAA.

Refsnyder will stay at AAA, to work solely at second base. It appears that the Yanks won’t bring him up this year but are grooming him to be the 2B in 2015. Ok. I’ll accept that, but I wish he would get his feet wet in the majors NOW.

As for Drew. Sigh. He is 31 and a lefty hitter. That is good. He has played nothing but SS his whole career. He is a free agent after the season so this may be an “audition” for the SS job next year once Jeter retires. BUT… the Yanks got Drew to play 2B. Hmmmmmmmmmmm….. he has NEVER played 2B EVER. After NOT accepting a qualifying offer from Boston, he wasn’t signed in the free agent market and missed half of the season. When he came back, he came back rusty. What is he doing this year? Try .176-4-11 in 39 games. OPS+ 63. That is awful. Maybe the Yanks feel he will heat up now that the rust is supposedly off. But I’m shaking my head. His stats this year are WORSE than Roberts. Refsnyder, or Pirela for that matter, should they bring either one up, should be able to post better stats than that. Refsnyder & Pirela have 2B experience. Drew has NONE. This baffles me.

Drew has a 162 g. average of .261-16-71, OPS+ 97. Average. A tick below. With the time off, he has been awful this season. In the last 163 games he has played (2013 Boston and so far this year Boston), he has hit .236-17-78. Nice pop, bad batting average. OPS+ average (101) but 163 strikeouts. I don’t get it. I’d rather give Pirela & Refsnyder the playing time.

The next move? Trading AA power hitter Pete O’Brien to AZ for Martin Prado. O’Brien has great power, low-average hitter who has many holes in his swing and no position. C? 1B? OF? Prado is a nice player, but the Yanks plan to play him in RF. An All-Star in 2010 for the Braves (.307-15-66) when he finished in the top 10 for MVP voting, Prado is versatile, but has played at mostly 3B/LF/2B in his career. He has even played 56 games at 1B and 16 at SS. But the Yanks are planning to play him in RF, where he has played just two innings in his entire career. I just don’t get it.

Prado, unlike Drew, does NOT become a free agent after the season, so depending on what holes the Yanks fill in the offseason, could play at various positions in 2015 for the Yankees. 2B if Refsnyder isn’t ready. 3B if Headley (another free agent) bolts after 2015 and A-Rod proves in 2015 he can’t play 3B but must DH only.

Prado, 30, did finish 20th in MVP voting in 2012 and his 162 g. average is .290-12-70. I wanted the Yanks to get a righty hitting OF with pop. Instead they got someone who mostly is a 2B/3B who has played a little OF who doesn’t have that much pop. OPS+ 107 for his career isn’t bad, but ….

This year Prado was at .270-5-42. OPS+ 91. A tick below average.

But where is the power to come from? I am surprised that the Phils got rid of NO ONE at the trade deadline. NOBODY. 14 below .500, and some high-name (but pricy) players. But they couldn’t dump Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, Burnett, Lee (more on that in a bit), Hamels, Byrd, Papelbon… NONE on anyone? Really?

Lee left the game tonight in the third inning, complaining about his elbow. It may be a good thing no one went for him. A great thing, actually. He may be done for the year.

But no one else goes? Really? Amaro is proving to me that Gillick was the real power when the Phils had a nice run there. Last place, 14 below, and you couldn’t get one contender to take ANY of those players?

The Yanks released Scott Sizemore from AAA.

In another move, the Yanks picked up a pitcher, Esmil Rogers, off waivers from the Blue Jays. He’ll be 29 soon and is 16-21, 5.59 in his MLB career. ERA+ 78. Underwhelming. 0-0, 6.97 in 16 games of relief for Toronto this year.

I hate to be a downer. But these moves underwhelm me. I was hoping for an impact bat. Willingham. Byrd maybe.

I don’t see it. I don’t get it.

What may the Yanks lineup be now?

Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Ellsbury CF (and I still don’t regard him as a #3 hitter)
Teixeira 1B
Beltran DH
McCann C (and 4-5-6 here are still all below .240; they NEED to pick it up)
Headley 3B
Prado RF (where he has played two innings his whole MLB career)
Drew 2B (where he has NEVER played)

I hope I am wrong but I have GREAT reservations about this.

In other big deals, the Red Sox sent Lester and Gomes to the A’s for Cespedes. The A’s sent Millone to the Twins.

The Cards, a day after getting Masterson from Cleveland, got Lackey from Boston for Kelly and Craig. Boston sent Andrew Miller to Baltimore.

In a 3-way deal, the Rays sent Price to Detroit, Detroit sent Austin Jackson to Seattle, and the Rays wound up with Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly.

Hmmm…. playoff series vs. Detroit and you face Verlander, Price and Scherzer….

I hope I am wrong about today for the Yanks. But I am very underwhelmed.